THURSDAY JUNE 13
Kara Weiss: Late Lights
Local author Kara Weiss might not be well-known yet, but she has earned stature over the years by being published in a variety of literary magazines. Late Lights is her debut fiction novel, which she describes as “a novella-in-stories.”
After Monty is released from a juvenile detention center, he finds himself with few options. In hopes to create stability in his life, Monty tries to reconnect with childhood friends. However, after his long absence, neither of his former friends, B.J. and Erin, knows how to accommodate him into their lives. B.J. has grown out of her tomboyish ways and into a woman who is questioning her sexual identity. Meanwhile, Erin is Ivy League-bound. All three lead such different lives, and it’s unclear how Monty’s unexpected return will impact them.
While the story may center on the struggles of adolescents, it’s the complicated realities and unabashed honesty in Late Lights that gives it appeal to mature readers. At this official launch party, Weiss will read from and sign her book. (Renee Estrada)
Kara Weiss: Late Lights @ Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center, 2 N. Medical Drive, 801-484-9100, June 13, 7 p.m., free. SLCJCC.org
Photographer Carol Koleman, Catalyst magazine contributor and former artist liaison for a number of local festivals, wraps up an exhibition of her photographs at the Finch Lane gallery. A large number of them were shot on her iPhone, edited using photo apps on the phone and displayed digitally.
A sense of humanity, distilled by the influence of classic practitioners of the art of photography, describes her approach to capturing poignant moments with the camera’s eye. It’s all about the act of seeing, so the feats of digital technology and an almost painterly approach of photography don’t seem like polar opposites, or need to be reconciled.
Coleman’s work has been showing concurrently with mixed-media work by Andrea Jensen in the Finch Lane Gallery, and Chauncey Secrist’s mixed-media pieces in the Park Gallery in the lower level of the building. (Brian Staker)
Carol Koleman @ Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane, 801-596-5000, through June 14; closing reception June 14, 6-8 p.m., free. SLCGov.com/arts
FRIDAY JUNE 14
Tuacahn Summer Season
There are some pairs that just belong together: Sonny and Cher, Cheech and Chong, Simon and Garfunkel. But by far the best combination has to be live theater and Utah’s majestic red-rock scenery.
And the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins, Utah, is where you can find just that. The theater itself is embedded into the red sandstone that comprises southern Utah, and creates a unique environmental ambiance for the musical productions of the Tuacahn. In the red-hot heat of this summer, the red rock of the Tuacahn Amphitheatre will be host to four plays: Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Disney’s Mulan and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express.
Now for a truly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious combination, it’s all about you and the Tuacahn Amphitheatre. (Courtney Tanner)
Tuacahn Summer Season @ Tuacahn Amphitheatre, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, 435-652-3300, through Oct. 25, see website for complete schedule, $29.50-$79.50. Tuacahn.org
Joey “CoCo” Diaz
There’s something that spills out of the large mouth of Joey “CoCo” Diaz at the end of his 2012 comedy album, It’s Either You or the Priest: “I feel bad … But if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t have this story.”
That sentiment easily sums up Diaz’s life, and the bawdy stories that comprise his comedy. The comic tends to spin personal, often crass yarns onstage, getting amped up and aggravated—be it about sex, exercise and/or race, his three favorite topics—before breaking the rant with his own raspy, deep-throated laugh. In turn, you can’t help but also smile, if not a bit uncomfortably.
Although that recording made a notable splash, these days, you aren’t a true comic if you don’t have a podcasting presence. Diaz can regularly be heard spinning hilarity out of hard-knock tales on The Joe Rogan Experience. He also had a long run with Beauty & Da Beast, co-hosted by Felicia Michaels, in which the duo regularly discussed second chances—a subject Diaz knows well, as he honed his comedy sensibilities behind bars while serving a short prison sentence.
More recently, Diaz has started a podcast with a more personal take on the world. The Church of What’s Happening Now basically follows the long-winded ramblings of Diaz, prompted by a young sidekick, as the two smoke joints and l isten to music. On a recent episode, he admitted, “I used to quit everything when I was a kid. Comedy, coke and crime is the first shit I stuck with.” (Jacob Stringer)
Joey “CoCo” Diaz @ Wiseguys Comedy Café, 505 S. 600 East, Trolley Square, 801-532-5233, June 14, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20. WiseguysComedy.com
Chalk Art Festival
Expect lots of landscapes, cowboys, Native Americans and scenes of rural Utah at this year’s 11th-annual “Best in the West”-themed Utah Foster Care Foundation Chalk Art Festival. Putting the sidewalks at The Gateway to good use, more than 140 artists from all over Utah and around the country, including guest artist Steve Platt, will take part in the two-day contest.
Competing in adult and youth categories, artists will take to the streets equipped with a box of chalk in 24 colors, foam brushes, erasers, latex gloves and baby wipes to make their masterpieces. If you don’t know what the “pounce” method is, come down to the festival to find out.
The Chalk Art Festival is more than just a family-friendly outing. It’s also a chance to learn about the need for more foster parents and of the work undertaken by Utah Foster Care Foundation, which recruits, trains and supports foster families, creating a safe environment for the children and their new families. In Utah, 2,600 children are in foster care.
“Last year, we had 20,000 people come to the chalk-art festival,” says Natalie Clark of the Utah Foster Care Foundation. “That’s a lot of people that we can share our message with, people who otherwise wouldn’t know about us. It helps to make people aware of who we are and what we need.”
And, while fun and art are the main draws to the Chalk Art Festival, those who want to do a little more can also sponsor an artist during the festival and raise some funds for the foundation. (Katherine Pioli)
Chalk Art Festival @ The Gateway, 18 N. Rio Grande St., 877-505-5437, June 14, 2-10 p.m.; June 15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. ChalkArtFestival.org
Sugar House Art Walk
This month’s event concludes the spring portion of the regular Sugar House Art Walks, held the second Friday of the month, 10 months of the year. In its third year, the Sugar House counterpart to the downtown Gallery Stroll (held the third Friday) includes over a dozen venues in and around the Sugar House neighborhood hosting artsy exhibits and activities. A light installation that was created at the former Granite Furniture during construction on the historic building is pictured.
In addition to the galleries, open studios and coffeehouse-type sites you’d expect on a gallery walk, several nontraditional art venues have joined the celebration, including health-services providers Pinnacle Performance and Cameron Wellness Center, in addition to Unhinged clothing boutique and Eightline Real Estate. With Sugar House becoming one of the most art-friendly neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, more and more businesses are realizing that seeing stimulating art on the walls is becoming an essential part of the overall experience of customers and clients.
The neighborhood has been undergoing some changes in the past few years. One of them is reflected in this month’s inclusion of activities at Sugarmont Plaza, at the parking lot of the former Deseret Industries on Highland Drive, with a mural on the side of the building, live music and food trucks offering examples of culinary artistry.
One of the delights of the Sugar House Art Walk is the actual walk-ability of the Sugar House area, as opposed to downtown Salt Lake City’s more wide-ranging venues. While strolling up and down the streets, you can encounter urban artworks that make traversing the place an adventure. (Brian Staker)
Sugar House Art Walk @ Various Sugar House venues, see website for details, June 14, 6-9 p.m., free. SugarHouseArtWalk.com
Comedic powerhouse Mike Epps will be doing what comes naturally—stand-up comedy—in his self-titled gig Mike Epps Presents. Probably best known for playing Day-Day Jones in Next Friday, Epps has proven that his talents allow him to wear many hats, from comedian to film producer and from writer to rapper. Few performers have such an eclectic résumé and can still be at such ease onstage with nothing between them and the live audience but their quick wit and a microphone.
Epps’ ability to combine hip-hop with comedy has included his first comedy rap album, Funny Bidness: Da Album, in 2009, as well as collaborations with Snoop Dogg and Kid Rock. Epps has also been busy in film as the executive producer of Napoleon: Life of an Outlaw—a documentary about the life story of a former member of Tupac Shakur’s Outlawz—and appeared in a hilarious cameo as Black Doug in the Hangover films. (Aimee Cook O’Brien)
Mike Epps Presents @ Wiseguys Comedy Café, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-463-2909, June 14-15, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; June 16, 7 p.m., $30. WiseguysComedy.com
SATURDAY JUNE 15
To Sing Frogs
International adoptions have been a controversial topic, with concerns about giving children a better life colliding with concerns about preserving cultural integrity. John Simmons uses his own real-world story as a soapbox to help support not just children who are brought to the United States through adoption, but those who stay behind.
Simmons’ memoir recounts the adoption of his daughter, Sarah, from a Russian orphanage, and her transition as she adapts to life in America. But as Sarah becomes more aware of her good fortune, Simmons considers adopting five additional children from the same orphanage.
All proceeds from the book will go to a new nonprofit organization supporting Russian orphans who are not adopted as they transition to adult life outside the orphanage. After the reading and signing, stay for several hands-on activities and displays, including the creation of “soft books” that are used to introduce prospective adoptees to their new families. (Scott Renshaw)
John Simmons: To Sing Frogs @ Weller Book Works, 607 Trolley Square, 801-328-2586, June 15, 5 p.m., free. WellerBookWorks.com
SB Dance: Of Meat & Marrow
There’s a long history of rock bands collaborating with modern-dance companies. Indie darlings Menomena worked with Portland, Ore.-based Monster Squad, and rock giants Radiohead and Sigur Rós collaborated with the late Merce Cunningham. Now, you can add locals Totem & Taboo and SB Dance to those illustrious ranks.
“I got to know Brian Kubarycz and discovered that not only did he teach at the U’s Honors College but also wrote, painted and played guitar in this rock band called Totem & Taboo,” says Stephen Brown, SB Dance’s director and namesake. “I checked out their music, dug it and immediately knew that these folks would be perfect for a show called Of Meat & Marrow. Serendipitous, but a way-perfect match. Everyone is having a gas.”
The one particular element that seems to make Kubarycz and company fit comfortably into the mad circus that can be SB Dance is that they’re more than willing to experiment. This particular show, featuring 10 dancers, is chock-full of people willing to try new ideas, new movement and new ways of working with live music. That’s not to say there aren’t also familiar elements, such as the overall aesthetic and props like metal tubs and cadaver tables, too. But the best thing is that Brown’s movement vocabulary gets stronger and more provocative with age.
The band simply provides a loud, visceral energy for Brown and his menagerie of a company to continue to push artistic boundaries—in this case, an evening-length work filled with beautiful lines created just so they can be strikingly broken, ultimately reminding the audience of the raw intricacies of our shared anatomical humanity. (Jacob Stringer)
More Entertainment & Music Picks: Events.CityWeekly.net